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Education: NEETs

Volume 716: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action has been taken to reduce the number of persons not in education, employment or training (NEETs); and what steps they have taken to re-engage those young people who are in the NEETs category. [HL1243]

The Government have taken decisive steps to strengthen existing provision and put in place new support to reduce the proportion of young people who are not in education, employment or training. In December 2009, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Work and Pensions jointly published Investing in Potential, our strategy to increase the proportion of 16-24 year-olds in education, employment or training.

Through the September guarantee, we offer all 16 and 17 year-olds a suitable place in learning. In 2009, almost 96 per cent of 16 year-olds and almost 90 per cent of 17 year-olds said that they wanted to continue in learning and received a suitable offer through the guarantee. We are building on this with a January guarantee in 2010, which will offer all 16 and 17 year- olds who are not in education, employment or training this month a place in entry-to-employment provision.

We will invest a total of £8.2 billion in 2010-11 to fund learning for 1.6 million young people, the highest ever number of young people participating in education and training in our country’s history, and we will increase 16-19 funding by 0.9 per cent in real terms in 2011-12 and 2012-13 to continue our commitment to the September guarantee. We are also investing more than £650 million in 2009-10 in financial support for 16-18 year-olds, including education maintenance allowance, care to learn and discretionary learner support funds, to help young people overcome financial barriers to participation.

Through our 14-19 reform programme, we are transforming the range of qualifications on offer to ensure that there are options available to suit every young person’s needs.

Apprenticeships are one of these key routes and we are creating an additional 35,000 apprenticeship places in 2009-10, including 21,000 in the public sector. By March 2010, the National Apprenticeship Service will provide 5,000 subsidies to employers to support them to take on 16 and 17 year-olds as apprentices.

The young person’s guarantee will ensure that 18-24 year-olds still unemployed after six months will be guaranteed access to a job, training or work experience. This will be supported by more time with their personal adviser.

We are widening participation in higher education to ensure that all those with the potential and merit to benefit are able and willing to do so. We have created the Graduate Talent Pool, which has offered over 12,000 vacancies for graduate internships since its launch at the end of July 2009. For those new graduates who cannot find work, the graduate guarantee ensures that those still unemployed at six months will have access to an internship, training or help to become self-employed.

Together, these measures represent a clear and substantial offer of support that will continue to prevent young people becoming NEETs and help those who are not in education, employment or training to re-engage.